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Putin pays respects to victims of St Petersburg metro blast


Russia

Putin pays respects to victims of St Petersburg metro blast

  • Eleven people die in blast on St. Petersburg metro
  • At least 45 injured
  • Second explosive device made safe
  • Government treating incident as a terror attack
  • Suicide bomber in his 20s from Central Asia suspected
  • Blast coincides with Putin visit to city

Russian President Vladimir Putin has paid his respects to the victims of Monday’s explosion on a metro train in St Petersburg. Earlier he had said everything would be done to identify the reasons behind the blast.

“I would like to express the words of sincerest condolences to relatives of the killed and wounded. I have already spoken with the chiefs of special services, FSB director, law enforcement bodies and special services are working,” said President Putin who had been on a visit to St Petersburg.

At least 11 people died and 45 others were injured in the blast.

Russian media reports have said the explosion was triggered by a suspected suicide bomber in his early 20s from central Asia.

The Interfax and Tass news agencies said the suspect had been identified, but there are conflicting reports as to whether he was a suicide bomber.

So far no one has claimed responsibility but possible links to jihadists or rebels from Russia’s North Caucasus region are being investigated.

An anti-terror investigation has been opened, but other causes are being investigated.

“A group of specialists from central units of FSB, interior ministry and emergency (situation) ministry has been sent to St. Petersburg to help in the process of the investigation of this crime and to clear up its consequences,” announced Andrei Prjezdomskiy of Russian National Anti-terrorist Committee.

Driver’s quick thinking

The explosion happened on a metro train in a tunnel travelling between two stations. The driver carried on to the second to enable victims to be helped more easily.

Russia’s investigative committee said this decision to carry on to the Technological Institute station may have helped prevent further losses.

Security

Minutes later a further device was found at Ploshchad Vosstaniya station which was successfully disabled. Both had contained the explosive TNT.

St Petersburg metro system was later reopened but security both there and in the capital Moscow has been tightened at all stations and airports, plus other public places.